According to the forecast of President-elect Biden, the United States will rejoin the Paris Agreement on his first day as president. Such signs indicate that after entering the White House, Biden, a multilateralist Biden, is expected to largely call back Trump’s established policies, including energy policies.
In past US governments, energy policies have usually changed with the change of government and have far-reaching implications for the United States and the world.
As an important lifeblood of modern economy, energy is closely related to politics, economy and environment, and its status is very important. Its policy trend is particularly eye-catching.
The evolution of U.S. energy policy after World War II
Throughout the development history since World War II, the energy policy of the United States has undergone a series of evolutions due to factors such as energy supply and demand, geopolitics and government governance capacity.
1940s and 1960s: Easing and free energy policy.
At this stage, the main domestic energy policy of the United States tends to prevent the impact of oil imports on the domestic oil industry; internationally, the government emphasizes ensuring the oil security of allies in order to serve its world hegemony.
1970s and 1990s: Emphasize government intervention to strengthen energy security.
Domestically, the energy structure adjustment and energy conservation policies are implemented, and the contradiction between energy supply and demand has gradually eased. On the international side, the International Energy Agency has been established to formulate a minimum protection price policy to promote the sustainable development of the domestic oil industry and ensure national energy security.
Since the 21st century: take into account the regulatory role of market mechanism and government policies to promote energy independence and clean energy development. During this period, the international geopolitical situation was complex and changeable.
Although successive governments have taken different measures, they are committed to reducing the external dependence of the United States on energy, increasing domestic energy supply, promoting energy conservation and the extensive use of clean energy, and diversifying energy supply.
Since taking office in 2009, Obama has successively put forward the New Energy Policy of the United States, the energy conservation and emission reduction plan for automobiles and the innovation strategy of the federal government of the United States, using new energy technologies as a breakthrough in the implementation of innovation strategies.
Although many specific policies have not been effectively implemented, the situation of energy production in the United States has changed significantly during the Obama era. Climate performance is unprecedented, protecting more than 265 million acres (about 1.072 million square kilometers) of public land and water, and clean energy policies have achieved remarkable results.
The Trump administration’s energy policy maintains some consistency with the Obama administration in supporting large-scale natural gas extraction, supporting clean energy such as nuclear energy, and biofuel development, but its energy policy adheres to the same overall philosophy as the Obama administration. On his first day as president, Trump released the “America’s First Energy Plan”, the core measure is to develop fossil energy. Since then, all actions have focused on removing obstacles to coal, oil and gas production.
Domestic policies “deregulation for oil and gas” and actively encourage fossil energy production; international exchanges “promote oil and gas export” and actively expand fossil energy exports. At the same time, “take oil and gas as a bargaining chip” frequently borrow energy tools to achieve national security and foreign policy goals.
In the years of Trump’s presidency, U.S. oil and gas production have surged and international energy status has increased. The Energy Short-term Outlook Report released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration points out that the volume of oil exports of the United States exceeded imports for the first time in 2019, and even surpassed Saudi Arabia to become the world’s largest crude oil exporter.
According to the World Energy Statistics Yearbook 2020 (69th Edition) released by BP, global natural gas production increased by 132 billion cubic meters in 2019, of which the United States increased 85 billion cubic meters, accounting for almost two-thirds of the net global growth.
The Trump administration’s energy policy has achieved some results in fossil energy production and export, energy security, but this “America first” and “making money fast” energy policy has exacerbated the oversupply in the world energy market, and also accelerated the change of the existing international energy landscape and energy geopolitics, and more importantly, for the world.
The climate and environment have caused immeasurable damage.
Biden’s “Green New Deal”
Biden is a pioneer in promoting climate change in the U.S. Congress. He has participated in the drafting of the climate control bill. During his vice president of the Obama administration, he also actively regulates carbon emissions and has always supported clean energy and climate governance. Judging from Biden’s speech in this presidential election, he continues the Democratic Party’s consistent position and proposition on energy policy, and stands for clean energy clearly.
He expressed support for the clean energy revolution and was determined to recover the damage caused by Trump’s presidency on the climate.
During the campaign, Biden repeatedly stressed the serious pollution caused by the oil industry and the need to be replaced by renewable energy. Biden gave a very detailed green energy plan in his campaign platform, which includes the research and development of new energy sources, wide application and the replacement and upgrading of traditional energy sources.
At the same time, Biden has made a number of commitments to promote clean energy development, including investing $2 trillion in energy to achieve 100% clean energy and zero vehicle emissions over the next four years; and setting stricter new fuel emission standards to ensure that 100% of newly sold light and medium-sized vehicles are electrified.
He also said that he would invest $400 billion in clean energy infrastructure construction in the next 10 years; deploy more than 500,000 new public charging outlets by 2030, while restoring the full electric vehicle tax credit; double offshore wind energy by 2030; and by 2050 Achieve “net zero emissions” (that is, offset carbon emissions through afforestation, carbon capture and other means).
Using the “Green New Deal” as the framework, Biden responds to climate challenges.
Relying on the three pillars of technological innovation, demand stimulation and infrastructure investment, Biden intends to leverage clean energy as leverage the U.S. economy; taking advantage of the spillover effects of climate change issues, he will revitalize the United States’s development in climate governance, clean energy technology, manufacturing and energy industries. Global leadership in exhibition.
After taking office in the White House, Biden may seek to reverse the deregulation of the oil and gas industry during Trump’s term, while implementing a “reasonable transition” policy from fossil fuels, trying to establish structural economic and policy support programs to stimulate the development of clean energy.
“Biden’s climate and energy plans are ambitious, but policy push may be blocked as the Senate may remain in Republican control,” said Randolph Bell, director of the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center. Biden is likely to focus his work on reducing the demand for fossil fuels, limiting methane emissions, and encouraging the development of carbon capture and storage technologies.
The world energy pattern is facing great changes.
Judging from the overall philosophy he adheres to, Biden’s position should be the same as that of the Obama era. However, today’s energy development is facing a series of new uncertainties, especially affected by the trend of globalization and geopolitical changes. The energy policy formulated by Biden’s team will not only be a replica of the Obama era, but also respond to the current situation.
At present, the COVID-19 epidemic has not been effectively curbed internationally, and the economic recovery of various countries is slow. The early investment in the development of new energy is high and the return cycle is long. The implementation of new energy policies may slow down the economic growth rate of the United States.
Under the settlement method of the US dollar and oil peg, vigorously developing new energy is to some extent a blow to the existing dollar system, which is bound to go through a long period of pain. Whether the United States can withstand such risks and costs, and how to find a balance between the urgency of promoting economic recovery and the urgency of developing new energy sources and addressing climate change, remains to be further observed.
At the same time, the international oil and gas market is volatile.
The trade war launched by the Trump administration against multiple countries and regions has tightened the monetary policies of central banks in the world’s major economies and uncertain prospects for world economic growth, exacerbating concerns about the slowdown in international markets about energy demand growth.
The International Energy Agency expects that the international crude oil market will continue to exceed demand in the next few years, and oil prices will remain low and volatile, which is difficult to effectively boost.
And cheap oil and gas are readily available, and the demand for clean energy will be suppressed in both the United States and emerging markets. While investing in clean energy technologies can also be part of an economic stimulus package, it is difficult for the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives to agree on clean energy legislation.
In the coming decades, the face of the world’s energy will fundamentally change.
These changes are not only related to the evolution of energy itself, but also to fundamental changes in the development and operation mode of energy systems. Under the influence of various factors, energy policy at different levels will face new threats and challenges.